A few months ago a youth worker from El Paso, TX called me up and asked, “Do you want to speak at school assemblies for a week in Texas?”
If I would have answered him honestly, I would have responded, “No way!”
Why? Because who would be stupid enough to get up in front of a bunch of kids who don’t want to hear a speaker… and try to speak to them?
I guess I’m that stupid. That’s why in this post I’m going to give you 3 tips I’ve learned along the way that have helped me when speaking to kids in difficult venues Continue reading “3 Tips Speaking to Kids… Who Don’t Want to Listen” »
Working with teenagers, I always have my eyes open for relevant books, evangelism tools and devotionals (last year I even answered that question in this blog, “Any good resources for my mentors to develop our student leaders?”).
This week I stumbled upon an incredible resource sharing the Gospel truth in a relevant way. It’s a little book from the Gideons called The Life Book… and being from the Gideons, that makes it completely free to churches Continue reading “Putting answers in the hands of young people” »
The youth ministry was fizzling out and no one knew why.
It was as simple as this: kids weren’t meeting Jesus, and the ones that already knew Jesus weren’t growing. As a result the group had sputtered and was on the verge of dying.
If it were a horse it would have been put down.
This past year I have had the opportunity to spend time with Continue reading “Poor Leadership 101” »
Do you create lifelong disciples who go out and make other disciples?
Think about that for a second. I’m not asking if your kids go to church or wear Christian t-shirts. I’m asking if they get so excited about Jesus that they can’t help but tell others about Him.
I know, I know. That sounds so… 2,000 years ago. (Dare I say… the book of Acts?)
Last Saturday my family and I connected with my good friend Greg Stier at the National Youth Workers Convention and we talked about that very subject—Gospelizing your youth ministry, a spicy “new” philosophy (that’s 2,000 years old) Continue reading “Multiplying Disciples” »
About 25 years ago I volunteered as a small group leader in the high school ministry of my church. It was there I met my friend Lorin, a man in his twenties who was discipling three teenage boys.
We love to throw that word “discipling” around, so let me describe precisely what Lorin did. Lorin met with these three teens once a week, encouraging them, praying with them, and studying the Bible-with these three he chose the books of I and II Timothy. After some time, the boys were so inspired by the teachings of II Timothy that they decided to memorize it… the whole book! So Lorin and the three boys Continue reading “Who’s Your Timothy?” »
The dust (and pink confetti) is slowly settling since the June 26th Supreme Court decision to legalize same sex marriage in all 50 states. The question is, how are Christians responding?
Barna released a fascinating glimpse last week revealing that not only Americans, but different denominations land all over the spectrum on this issue. For example, 53% of Catholics favor the Supreme Court’s decision (strongly or somewhat), where only 2% of Barna’s definition of an Evangelical favor the decision. At the same time, most the country seems to agree this decision was inevitable.
Barna breaks it down nicely on this chart Continue reading “How Christians React to the Legalization of Same-Sex Marriage” »
Remember all that hype about the 5%?
I think I heard it like this. “Do you know that only 5% of Christian students actually keep their faith when they graduate from high school?”
Someone said it once, printed it, and it became “research.” I’ve heard all kinds of numbers, some of them unbelievable, some of them from solid research and really sobering. But numbers aside, anyone who has worked in youth ministry for any length of time can attest to one undeniable truth: too many kids walk away from their faith, stop plugging in with other believers or stop attending church after high school.
So that begs the question, how do we help kids grow in their faith so they continue their faith journey, growing and fellowshipping after graduation? Continue reading “Growing After Graduation” »
Year after year I encounter powerful movie, TV and YouTube clips that provoke meaningful discussions about Easter and Christ’s sacrifice for us (we even saw one last season that we highlighted on our The Gospel According to The Walking Dead blog).
Out of all the clips I encounter year after year and highlight on our Holiday Ideas page… these THREE CLIPS stick out as some of my favorites for Easter Continue reading “Favorite Easter Clips” »
“Long boring sermons just don’t work.”
It was the one common denominator on almost everyone’s paper. I just spent two weeks speaking to young people and training youth workers in Uganda… and their kids are just like ours.
The training workshops were particularly revealing. We started each session breaking up into groups, brainstorming ideas on a large piece of paper, listing ministry practices that were working… and also models that, sadly, weren’t working. Then we discussed each item in detail, speculating why, and learning from each others’ successes and failures.
Despite our many differences, I was amazed at the similarity between Uganda and American Continue reading “Boring Them to Death” »
The night I arrived back to the US after two weeks from Uganda, I had a dream.
I was playing soccer (football, if we’re in Uganda) and was the left wing—that’s the forward on the left side. My friend Marko was my goalie and he kicked a beautiful kick up the left side, right in front of me, yelling, “Jonathan, go!” It was a clear opportunity for me to score.
This is one of those moves professional players can do with ease, but you’ve seen amateurs blow a thousand times. It takes the skills of controlling an incoming ball while running, not a simple task, by any means. It’s a skill I remember drilling Continue reading “Missing the Ball” »